Thursday, May 23, 2019

On the MENU this week. The Best Chilli con Carne recipe

Here comes Winter. It is back to the kitchen for spicy warming food. Lynne’s favourite Chilli recipe is also probably the oldest cookbook recipe she uses – The International Cookbook bought in W H Smith in 1967. This is a Tex Mex chilli, not a true Mexican one. We do use tinned beans as they are so cheap and they save so much time and energy. If you don’t do pork, you can leave out the bacon, but it is the secret ingredient, bringing out lots of flavour.
350g dried or 2 tins red kidney beans -2 large onions, finely chopped – 2 cloves of garlic, crushed - 2 tablespoons olive oil - 450g lean minced beef – 30g chopped streaky bacon or pancetta - 500 ml tomato passata or 1 tin of whole tomatoes, roughly chopped – 1 or 2 fresh red chillies– 1 t powdered Cumin - Freshly ground black pepper – Salt
If you are using dried kidney beans, soak them overnight in cold water. The following day, bring the beans to a boil in plain water, then discard that water. Cover the beans with more water and boil until they are soft. A pressure cooked helps to save energy. 
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the onions until soft. Stir in the garlic, meat and the bacon and continue frying, stirring occasionally, until the meat has browned. Blend in the drained kidney beans, add the passata or tomatoes with their juice, and season to taste with chilli, pepper and cumin.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low heat for at least an hour and a half, (the meat must be getting soft the onions and tomato melting and all the flavours must be coming together) stirring occasionally and checking that it doesn’t dry out. Add a little water if it begins to. You can do this in a slow cooker as well, leave for at least 4 hours. Or a pressure cooker if you ae short of time. Taste and if it is not hot enough for your taste, add some more chilli or a little hot chilli sauce. Only add salt at the end as the bacon usually adds enough. 
Serve with rice or crusty bread, guacamole, a chopped tomato, spring onion and coriander salsa, and a tossed green salad. Serves 6.
Tip: If you want a darker flavour, add one or two squares of good dark chocolate. And if you can get hold of some Ancho or Passila dried chillis, they will make this very authentic.
MENU’s Wine of the Week. Raka Sangiovese 2015
This fruity wine is perfect with spicy dishes and those containing tomato. It has lovely notes of Maraschino cherry, mulberry and vanilla on the nose. It has those typical Italian notes from the grape
On the plate it has silky mulberry fruit, nice freshness, green tomato leaf, and soft chalky tannins, with licorice and salt on the end. An excellent food wine. R113 on the farm

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